Watching Movies on Samsung Gear VR with the Note 8, What Is Needed? - Sprint Product Ambassadors
So with the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 being my first Samsung ever, I’ve been rather slow to try out the whole Samsung Gear VR thing. However, I’m a bit of a movie buff. Love the idea of VR Movies and have been dying to see how the Note 8 with Gear VR looks at watching some of my favorite films. One thing to note is the Note 8 requires a special version of the headset and that is one with model SM-R325NZVAXAR written on the box.
First of all, this writing ignores the rumblings back and assumes the Galaxy Note 8 is only compatible with new Gear VR model SM-R325NZVAXAR. I have heard things either way but I want to stay official and thus SM-R325NZVAXAR is for the Note 8. Although the packaging looks very similar to prior releases, Note 8 compatibility is easily identified on the bottom of the packaging.
One thing I immediately love about the SM-R325NZVAXAR is it includes the controller, which you are going to want (makes things easier at times) Although this raises the price, there is nothing more needed to buy and you’ll be ready to take your Note 8 for a spin, moments after fitting it in the Gear VR case.
Speaking of cases, you’ll want to remove any extra cases and covers off your Note 8 before installing into the Gear VR. You’ll see pretty readily the NOTE 8 fits SM-R325NZVAXAR like a glove.
For those new to the experience, the Gear VR is for use with Oculus and sadly you’ll be limited by the apps available through the Oculus store and/or the pack-ins from Samsung. That isn’t to say things aren’t on the horizon but you might have to wait for things and/or let other things go.
My original hopes was to access my Vudu account where I have about 1000 movies saved (a couple of which that are 3D… where I actually miss my 3D movies). However, with Gear VR and Oculus you’ll see no sign of Vudu app available. Samsung looks to have tried to address this absence by including their own app called “Samsung PhoneCast”. Through PhoneCast, Vudu can be opened and accessed but I have yet to get this working correctly (Showing a blank screen, whenever starting a movie and hearing audio throughout). That’s not to say things are not without hope.
When starting the app you do get a disclaimer saying a lot is in beta and therefore best effort so I hope things only improve with time.
Ok, that aside… the other streaming apps actually work very nicely.
Netflix was the first one I tried and the overall experience was so nice and relaxing. If was actually very different than I expected. I guess I just thought you would just have a big screen playing movies in front of your face but lo and behold, Netflix itself is actually a VR experience. You do get a big screen in front of your face but it’s surrounded by a virtual stage in the form of a mountain lodge. Looking to the left and right you have a beautiful mountain view, a quaintly decorated living room and simple and relaxing furniture arrangement. When viewing the Netflix menu the room is bright and well-lit but once a feature starts the ambient lights dim completely and the screen becomes the only light in the room. Now what I totally get a kick out of, is how the movie screen (for lack of a better description) lights up and flickers off the furniture and surroundings. You really feel like you are in this mountain lodge, watching a massive TV… it’s beyond words.
Much like Netflix, Hulu also rocks with Gear VR. It’s the only other streaming provider you’ll see in native apps but since I know you each already read my Hulu blog, and we are all equipped with Hulu together (thanks to Sprint). So again, Hulu + Gear VR + Note 8 = Awesome. Differing slightly from the Netflix virtual stage, the setting is more modern (kind of like a modern apartment with a giant TV wall). They effect is equally good though. The movie screen (for lack of a better description) lights up and flickers off the furniture and surroundings. If feels good and comfortable to watch. They only thing I would criticize is the sensitivity of the headset. It’s a bit more intense than with Netflix.
Watching Hulu is fine when sitting still on the couch or laying down but a little too herky-jerky if you are just standing up or have too many head movements. Still, it’s streaming, it’s VR and it’s awesome.
The last video streaming option that can be found is the default Oculus video app. This one is pretty cool also and certainly good enough to bait you into buying some movies through the Oculus video store. This is especially true for me as the video store offer countless feature films in 3D. Prices range from $6.99 and up and selection includes many of the films previously available on Blu Ray 3D. I purchased one to try (Piranha 3dd) and was pretty happy with the 3D effects overall, although it’s still not quite as discrete as what you would see on a 3D TV or Digital Cinema. The overall experience however, is nice, comfortable and highly recommended. As with the other streamers, you get a big screen in front of your face and surrounded by a virtual stage. The default is large movie theater and it is super cool with plenty of ambient light reflection off the seats and walls and an overall feeling that you are in the theater watching this movie. Where this expands further however, is this app gives you the option to change the stage. You can choose from the theater, a strange ant view, Outer space, and Void (which is a pitch black background). For 3D, I think theater works best but depending on your mood, the other options are all very nice.
So does Gear VR meet the grade? Is it worth your money? I for one will never be without one of these and I can’t wait till next time I’m traveling. Regardless of where you are in the world, your peaceful living room movie night is not far away.
If anyone has any tips on Vudu with Gear VR, please share below.
Sprint Product Ambassador
Disclaimer: The Product Ambassadors are Sprint employees from many different parts of the company that love technology. They volunteer to test out all sorts of Sprint devices and offer opinions freely to the Community. Each Product Ambassador shares their own opinions of these devices, therefore the information in this post does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sprint. The PA's do not represent the company in an official way, and should not be expected to respond to Community members in an official capacity. #sprintemployee.
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